NFL 2012 Season: Week 6 Preview
A rematch of last season's NFC title game highlights the action for Week 6 of the 2012 NFL season. Here's a preview of all of this week's games:
Thursday, October 11
Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans — 8:20 P.M. EST
LP Field, Nashville
Pittsburgh (2-2) sends the league's fifth-ranked defense to face a Titans' team which will once again start Matt Hasselbeck in place of injured Jake Locker at quarterback. Tennessee (1-4) has committed 10 turnovers so far this season. The Steelers' running game was much improved with the return of Rashard Mendenhall. Pittsburgh could put up big numbers against a Titans' defense that has allowed a league-high 181 points.
Sunday, Oct. 14
Oakland Raiders at Atlanta Falcons — 1 P.M.
Georgia Dome, Atlanta
As the NFC's last undefeated team, Atlanta (5-0) welcomes the Raiders—and their 28th-ranked pass defense—to the Georgia Dome. Falcons' quarterback Matt Ryan could be primed for a big day. Oakland (1-3) has the NFL's worst rushing offense at 60.8 yards per game. The Raiders have averaged just 16.8 points per contest. Oakland quarterback Carson Palmer must be cautious, as the Falcons are second-best in the league with nine interceptions.
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns — 1 P.M.
Cleveland Browns Stadium, Cleveland
Cleveland (0-5) has lost 10 games in a row dating back to last season, including a 34-27 loss to the Bengals in Week 2. The Browns' 28th-ranked defense will need to account for Bengals' wide receiver A.J. Green, who is fifth in the league in receiving yards with 493. Cincinnati (3-2) will rely on defensive tackle Geno Atkins to get pressure on Cleveland's rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden, who is tied for the league lead with nine interceptions.
St. Louis Rams at Miami Dolphins — 1 P.M.
Sun Life Stadium, Miami
With an ever-improving offense anchored by quarterback Sam Bradford and receiver Danny Amendola, St. Louis (3-2) has become competitive again. They'll face a Dolphins' defense that ranks 27th against the pass, allowing 281.8 yards per game. Miami (2-3) has the league's eighth-best rushing offense, rolling up 136.2 yards per game led by running back Reggie Bush. The Rams can't stack the line against the run unless they account for Dolphins' receiver Brian Hartline, the NFL's leading receiver with 514 yards.
Indianapolis Colts at N.Y. Jets — 1 P.M.
MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
Indianapolis (2-2) has evened its record thanks to the fast develop.m.ent of rookie quarterback Andrew Luck and his chemistry with Reggie Wayne, the league's third-leading receiver with 506 yards. Luck could be stymied by the Jets' sixth-ranked passing defense. New York (2-3) is sticking with Mark Sanchez, even though he ranks 31st in the league in quarterback rating.
Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles — 1 P.M.
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia
Detroit (1-3) comes off its bye week that allows the league's third-ranked offense to be well-rested. Lions' wide receiver Calvin Johnson could create a match-up nightmare for the Eagles, who have the league's eighth-ranked defense, yielding 307.2 yards per game. Philadelphia (3-2) has many offense weapons, but the Eagles have averaged an NFC-worst 16 points per game due in part to Michael Vick's nine turnovers. The Lions' front line will look to help add to Vick's giveaway total.
Kansas City Chiefs at Tampa Bay Buccaneers — 1 P.M.
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla.
Kansas City (1-4) centers its offense around running back Jamaal Charles, who leads the NFL in rushing with 551 yards. The Chiefs will likely be without quarterback Matt Cassel, who was injured in last week's loss to Baltimore. If Cassel doesn't play, Chiefs' quarterback Brady Quinn will face a Buccaneers' defense that is the worst in the NFL against the pass, but 4th-best against the run. Tampa Bay (1-3) has been extremely inconsistent on offense, ranking 30th in the league at just 276 yards per game. Buccaneers' quarterback Josh Freeman may have to carry the team, as the Chiefs' have the league's eighth-best run defense.
Dallas Cowboys at Baltimore Ravens — 1 P.M.
M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore
Dallas (2-2) may have needed the bye week so that quarterback Tony Romo, the league's 23rd-rated passer, could regroup. The Ravens' defense is solid, with safety Ed Reed a threat to intercept on nearly any passing down. Baltimore (4-1) ranks eighth in the league in offense at 398.8 yards per game. Ravens' quarterback Joe Flacco could be challenged by the Cowboys' top-ranked passing defense.
New England Patriots at Seattle Seahawks — 4:05 P.M.
CenturyLink Field, Seattle
Despite some tough losses this season, New England (3-2) seems to have regained its offensive prowess. The NFL's top-ranked offense has scored 113 points in its last three games. Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady could be challenged by a Seahawks' defense that is the league's stingiest, allowing just 258.6 yards per game and yielding 14.0 points per contest. With the league's 31st-ranked passing offense gaining just 147 yards per game, Seattle (3-2) must hope that rookie quarterback Russell Wilson can keep from turning the ball over to the New England defense. Seahawks' running back Marshawn Lynch, whose 508 rushing yards rank third in the league, should help control the clock.
Buffalo Bills at Arizona Cardinals — 4:05 P.M.
U of Phoenix Stadium, Phoenix
Buffalo (2-3) is in a tailspin, having been outscored 97-31 the last two games. Bills' quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown eight interceptions. He faces a Cardinals' defense giving up just 15.6 points per game, fifth-best in the NFL. Kevin Kolb has been sacked a league-high 22 times, a big reason why Arizona (4-1) has the league's 31st-ranked offense. Buffalo's defense must attempt to force some turnovers, as it allows an AFC-high 449.4 yards per game.
N.Y. Giants at San Francisco 49ers — 4:25 P.M.
Candlestick Park, San Francisco
New York (3-2) is fueled by an explosive offensive attack that averages an NFC-best 429.2 yards per game. Giants' quarterback Eli Manning has thrown for 1,579 yards, second-best in the NFL. The 49ers' defense allows an NFL-best 13.6 points per game and ranks second against the pass with just 181.2 yards per contest. San Francisco (4-1) is led by quarterback Alex Smith, the NFL's top passer with a 108.7 rating. Despite having a reputation as one of the league's best pass rushes, the Giants have recorded just eight sacks, tied for 24th.
Minnesota Vikings at Washington Redskins — 4:25 P.M.
FedEx Field, Landover, Md.
One of the league's biggest surprises this season, Minnesota (4-1) has won thanks to solid game management from quarterback Christian Ponder. This week he'll face a Redskins' defense that ranks 26th in the NFL, yielding 416.4 yards per game. Washington (2-3) hopes to have rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III back after he left last week's game after suffering a mild concussion. His versatility may be needed against a Vikings' defense that ranks seventh-overall. Redskins' rookie running back Alfred Morris is fourth in the league with 491 rushing yards.
Green Bay Packers at Houston Texans — 8:20 P.M.
Reliant Stadium, Houston
Green Bay (2-3) has not closed out games as it did the past two years. Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been sacked 21 times already this season, second-most in the NFL. He could be in for more pressure against the Texans' third-ranked defense, led by J.J. Watt, who has 8.5 sacks to lead the NFL. Houston (5-0) is led by running back Arian Foster, the league's second-leading runner with 532 yards.
Monday, Oct. 15
Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers — 8:30 P.M.
Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego
After completing a gauntlet of difficult early-season opponents, Denver (2-3) travels to its chief competition for the AFC West in 2012. Broncos' quarterback Peyton Manning is the NFL's fourth-rated passer. He has helped make Demaryius Thomas the league's second-ranked wide receiver with 513 yards. They'll face a Chargers' defense that defends the run much better than it does the pass. San Diego (3-2) will try to get Philip Rivers in synch against a Broncos' defense that relentlessly rushes the passer.
Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars